Does this Cannondale CAAD 12 have the best paint job you've seen?

There was a time when aluminium bikes were viewed as the pinnacle of performance bicycles. The advent of titanium and then carbon fibre changed all that, but that hasn't stopped American company Cannondale's CAAD range of aluminium bikes being highly sought after

(Image credit: chris catchpole)

We all like looking at top end racing bikes, but every so often a custom paint job crops up that really stands out from the crowd.

The US stars and stripes Cannondale CAAD 12 is one such bike.

Chris Hughes, PR/Marketing Coordinator of Cycling Sports Group, the UK distributor of Cannondale bikes, explained to Cycling Weekly that Cannondale decided to commemorate the aluminium frame heritage in American cycling by commissioning Fat Creations in Chichester, to do a full respray.

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The metallic candy paint job was inspired by the stars and stripes design used on Cannondale Pro Cycling's Andrew Talansky's customised Cannondale Slice time trial bike.

Andrew Talansky on stage one of the 2015 Tour de France

Andrew Talansky and his Cannondale Slice with its bespoke paint job (Photo: Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

The bike started life as a standard Cannondale CAAD 12, which is Cannondale’s top of the range aluminium bike, with a Shimano 105 groupset.

Andrew McLean of Fat Creations told Cycling Weekly that his instructions were to create a visually striking paint job.

"Cannondale gave me the brief of having the stars and stripes pattern," he said, "and they wanted the logos to be naked aluminium."

Cannondale US half paint

The process started with removing the original paint job before adding the candy paint (Photo: Fat Creations)

"I wanted to use the very best of everything, no expense spared, it was to be a show-off piece. To get a real depth of colour I decided to use true candy red and blue," he enthused.

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McLean kicked off the process by stripping away all the existing paint from the aluminium frame. The frame was then brushed to get a nice finish before he started creating the eye-catching red and blue candy stars and stripe theme.

Cannondale US different layers

The naked aluminium stars can be seen compared to the layers of blue candy (Photo: Fat Creations)

The choice of candy colours meant the task was particularly labour intensive.

"The whole job took over 80 hours," McLean added. "Because Cannondale wanted the bare aluminium and I opted for candy colour it meant I had to do lots of different coats - four times the process than for a standard finish."

Stars and stripes top tube

White bar tape complements the custom paint job

The end product is an eye-catching bike; the candy paint provides a shiny and reflective look. The whole top tube is decked out in stars and candy blue whilst the main body of the frame is a metallic red.

Cannondale Bike place down tube

The white Shimano cables are internally routed
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

The US theme wasn't limited to the paint job. The bike comes with white Shimano cables, which are hard to come by and are internally routed befitting of a top-end road frame.

The silver Cannondale writing, and the stars, are the naked aluminium frame rather than silver stickers.

Cannondale Bike place stem

Even the stem received a bespoke paint job
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

A nice touch is that the stem has also received a custom paint job and the Enve bars are adorned with Fabric's white silicon bar tape - which is said to be easily wiped clean and very stretchy which means you can manipulate it to get different thicknesses.

Cannondale Bike place wheels

The Enve wheels are paired with Schwalbe One tyres
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

Hughes explained that the spec wasn't selected simply to be the highest possible, rather it was chosen to mirror the bike's livery. That said, it is definitely no slouch.

The hoops of choice are the Enve SES 4.5 Carbon Fibre Road, with half of the stickers on each wheel are silver rather than white, to match the frame.

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Likewise, the groupset is Shimano Dura Ace mechanical, which was chosen for its performance characteristics almost as much as the silver text which again, matches the stars and stripes decals.

Cannondale Bike place rear mech

The bike is equipped with a Dura Ace mechanical groupset
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

The Cannondale CAAD 12 frame is made from SmartFormed Alloy 6069 Speedsave aluminium and is Di2 ready.

It is said to be Cannondale's most advanced aluminium frame and is the result of the company's investment in tube flow modelling computer systems specific for aluminium.

The systems are said to allow the designers to test each aluminium tube individually using Computational Fluid Dynamics and other on-line testing methods.

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The complete bike built on the foundations of the 51cm sized is claimed to come in at the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit.

Although not able to confirm the price of the full bike as built, and reiterating that the spec was selected for aesthetics rather than all out performance, Hughes explained you could expect for the full bike to cost north of £4,000. McLean also confirmed that for the paint job alone you wouldn't get any change from £800.